Philippians 1:9-11 “And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.”
Do you leave your spiritual growth only to chance?
Is your hope that just by attending church or doing a devotional that you might perchance be led into greater spiritual maturity?
We know by the Word of God the Holy Spirit works in His people to sanctify and make holy, the question is, do we have a part to play in His work?
I think the Word of God shows that we do have an active role in growing in grace, holiness, and in the knowledge of God. This knowledge of Truth is not designed to be stored up but is living and active, purposeful in the time that it is given, and intent on being applied as we go.
Considering how to move from passive faith to intentional faith requires a knowledge of the means by which to grow.
2 Peter 3:18 “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.”
The directive in 2 Peter is a verb that indicates active participation in the work of God. The encouragement is to take an active role in the work God is doing in you.
As the Lord reveals, we have a choice to make; either to accept or reject the purpose of the revelation. For example, you might be reading a devotional that touches on a point and causes conviction, that conviction did not come randomly but is often something the Lord has been impressing on you for a while, something He wants for you now.
- Passive faith takes a truth revealed and applies it elsewhere.
It’s so easy looking at others lives and become critical of their walk when application should be starting first at home.
James 2:14 “What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him?”
Do you ever read a convicting passage and first thought…Becky or Larry really needs to hear this, when all along, the Lord might be showing it to you because you need to hear it. It’s not easy being corrected by the Spirit, especially if you’ve been a christian for any length of time and have done a fair amount of studying.
Self application requires humility and the ability to take into consideration a viewpoint that is different than your own.
- Passive faith shelves truth until it’s time to act on it.
When I was a kid in a small, very conservative, christian school I was taught about obedience. When a supervisor instructed us regarding a directive, the expectation was that I obeyed immediately. Even if I did as I was instructed and yet waited for a while to do it, I would be punished. My principal would say, “Delayed obedience is disobedience”, and I knew even as a kid what he was saying was true.
Ecclesiastes 5:4 “When you vow a vow to God, do not delay paying it, for he has no pleasure in fools. Pay what you vow.”
The path of wisdom is knowing that when God leads, we immediately follow. If the Lord says wait, we wait. If the Lord says to say this or that, you speak it faithfully, there is purpose behind it.
- Passive faith changes the directive to fit the needs.
My wife and I were recently watching the incredible documentary called “Free Burma Rangers”; the story depicts a couple who faithfully started their marriage in the jungles of Burma by helping refugees in a time of great crisis. Through the years, the Lord led them and their team to Iraq, specifically Mosul. The Iraqi general who was overseeing the fight against ISIS wasn’t sure about their intent until Dave Eubank, it’s founder, heard the Lord instruct him to pray. The Lord was more specific and quietly told him to get on his knees and pray. Dave said he wrestled with this for a moment, thinking it wasn’t the right time and place but he did it anyhow, wanting to be obedient. After Dave stood up, the Iraqi general realized how devoted Dave was to his God and respected him far more for his act of humility. Dave and his team were allowed to go wherever they desired simply because of this small act of obedience.
Isaiah 50:5 “The Sovereign LORD has spoken to me, and I have listened. I have not rebelled or turned away.”
When the Lord instructs, He is intentional in His directive. If we are going to trust in the Lord with all our hearts, trusting is acting obediently exactly as He has spoken.
- Active faith is intentional in its focus.
Psalm 9:10 “Those who know Your name trust in You, for You, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek You.”
- It is a faith that actively seeks the Lord each day.
Psalm 63:1 “O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.”
- It is a faith that doesn’t hope to grow—it takes a vested interest in responding to how God is growing you.
Psalm 25:12 “Who is the man who fears the LORD? Him will he instruct in the way that he should choose.”
The Lord delights in the one who seeks after Him—that one will surely be filled.
Evidence of Growth
When the intent of believers is directed toward the source of all LIfe and Godliness, the results are evident among the true church of God.
Philippians 2:1-2 “Therefore if you have any encouragement in Christ, if any comfort from His love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being united in spirit and purpose.”
The unity of the faith follows the one who has an earnest desire to be more like the Shepherd. The Lord unites His people with a singular focus (to share the gospel), with the same love (of God), and being united in spirit (of one mind), and God’s purpose (not their own).
This is the way the body of Christ functions and it brings encouragement, comfort, and genuine fellowship for all who enter in.
We are not meant to grow alone, we are interconnected with those whom God call and received the call.
Who are these people?
They are those who are led by the Spirit, filled with the Spirit, and walk in the unity of the Spirit.
When one of the body suffers, they all suffer. The church functions as a whole yet individually walking with Christ in sanctification and honor.
Remember, your growth is not only important for you, but for all who are in fellowship with you. This is just another way we love one another.